MedicareCENTER Enhancements Including Call Recording, Mobile App, Personal URL and LeadCENTER Integration
Big things are happening with MedicareCENTER and these new enhancements are making it even easier for our agents to sell more, earn more and grow more.
Let's dive right in! The call recording feature built into MedicareCENTER allows agents to compliantly record their phone calls when they're selling Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans. It also allows them to access those calls any time they need them - as they'll be stored for 10 years. And there is no charge for this service. As with all the tools built into MedicareCENTER, the platform is complimentary for agents working with us.
The MedicareCENTER mobile app is now available in the App Store and the Google Play store and has all of the same capabilities as the web version. This makes managing your business even easier! Download the app and login to take your business where ever you go on your phone or tablet.
The next feature we're going to discuss is the personal URL which allows your clients to shop and enroll on our consumer-facing website, MedicareEnroll.com. When clients use your personalized link, they will see your contact information. They’ll be able to shop, compare and enroll in the Medicare plans you’re appointed to sell — and you’ll get the commission!
The newest feature to be integrated with MedicareCENTER is our LeadCENTER which allows our agents to receive leads directly into MedicareCENTER with the flip of a switch. This new tool allows agents to receive verified leads as soon as they're online and ready to receive phone calls.
Save time and produce more with MedicareCENTER this AEP and year-round. Quoting and enrollment tools built in to MedicareCENTER allow you to enroll clients in Medicare Supplement plans as well as Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans. MedicareCENTER combined with LeadCENTER is the most powerful tool a Medicare agent can have at their disposal. To learn more about all the capabilities of MedicareCENTER visit our MedicareCENTER page. And to begin working with us so you can have access to all these free tools, please visit our Contracting page.
On May 9, 2022 CMS put into place the following rules for marketing and communications with regard to offering Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans for 2023.
When marketing Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans the following language must include:
“We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.”
The message above must be:
If you're using marketing materials this AEP be sure to update them or request marketing materials from us with the disclaimer above. It's crucial to be compliant and be sure to follow the rules put forth by CMS.
You are NOT required to use the disclaimer when meeting with a Medicare beneficiary in person, if you only sell plans on behalf of one carrier, OR if you sell plans on behalf of more than one carrier and you sell ALL commercially available MA or PDP plans in a given service area. Additionally, it's always best to include “Not connected with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program.” on any marketing materials you use.
Learn more about the CMS Communications & Marketing Guidelines.
Download the Agent Dos & Dont's from CMS.
Additionally, recording of all phone interactions between agents and consumers discussing MA and PDP must take place and recordings must be stored for 10 years. You should record ALL calls in their entirety beginning on October 1, 2022.
You must record all your calls with every beneficiary in their entirety. This includes all inbound and outbound calls including lead generation, marketing and the enrollment process. If you call an existing client or receive a call from an existing client and you believe that the call may lead to enrollment, then you should record the call from the outset. This can include: lead generation, marketing, discussing different plans, mid-year reviews, Medicare educational discussions on options, annual check-ins, or any other topic that involves the selling/enrollment of a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plan.
Many states require that consumers be notified that their call is being recorded. As a best practice you should tell the consumer at the start of each call that the call is being recorded and explain to them why the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has put this rule into effect. Make sure the notification is documented on the recording. If a consumer stays on the line, they have consented to the recorded call. If they don't wish to be recorded, then it's best to politely end the conversation.
“I understand that you may not wish to be recorded; however, new government regulations require certain calls with Medicare beneficiaries be recorded. In order for me to my due diligence and be compliant I must get your permission to record our conversation. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that the information that I give you is accurate.”
Read more about the CMS rule here...
How am I going to record my calls?
New call recording capabilities will be available in MedicareCENTER and will include the following:
What else can you do in MedicareCENTER ?
By utilizing our MedicareCENTER, you will be compliant and will have access to all of your clients' information. To learn more and get registered for MedicareCENTER, please visit our MedicareCENTER page.
Should you choose to use a different vendor for your call recording, please keep in mind that you are responsible for entering into an agreement with that vendor and paying for their service.
If you have questions about this CMS rule, please reach out to us for further information.
The Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period runs from January 1st - March 31st.
If your client is unhappy with their current Medicare Advantage plan, they can make a switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage). They can also dis-enroll from their Medicare Advantage Plan and return to original Medicare. If they choose to do so, they'll be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan as well (Part D).
If they enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during their Initial Enrollment Period, they can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) or go back to Original Medicare (with or without drug coverage) within the first three months they have Medicare.
If your client switches to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or goes back to original Medicare with or without a drug plan, their new coverage will start the first day of the month after their new plan gets the request for coverage. An important detail to remember though, if your client decides to go back to original Medicare, they may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement policy.
The best time for your client to get a Medicare Supplement policy is during their six month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. During that time they can purchase any Medicare Supplement policy sold in their state, even if they have health problems. This period starts the first month they have enrolled in Medicare Part B and they're age 65 or older.
There are many details to consider, before jumping off their current coverage. However, there are options if their current plan is not a good fit.
Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans, also known as D-SNPSs, are special Medicare Advantage plans for those who are receiving both Medicare AND Medicaid assistance. These plans extend their Medicare coverage and help coordinate care and benefits between Medicare and Medicaid. They can ultimately provide the most comprehensive, affordable coverage for these individuals.
These plans cover the same health care services that traditional Medicare Advantage plans cover, including Medicare Parts A and B and they also include prescription drug coverage. Many D-SNPs also offer Dental, Vision and Hearing coverage, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), tele-health options, fitness and gym memberships, OTC (Over the Counter) cards (with prepaid credit to buy health products and groceries) and even transportation assistance. Many of these plans offer $0 premiums making them highly attractive to those with limited incomes.
Individuals who are eligible for D-SNPs are a diverse group of people that can include those with multiple chronic conditions, physical disabilities, mental illnesses, cognitive impairments and developmental disabilities. It can also include individuals who are relatively healthy. These individuals typically require assistance managing their care, which is where the care coordination of these plans is hugely beneficial for them.
Who pays for what and how does it all work? With most Medicare Advantage plans, your client pays a portion of the plan cost out of pocket. With a D-SNP, Medicare and Medicaid pay most or all of the costs. Medicare is the primary payer for care services. State-run Medicaid then steps in by providing assistance with Medicare premiums and cost sharing and also covers some services that Medicare does not cover, such as Long-term care services.
In 2020 there were 12.3 million people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.
This is a very under-served market and there is no shortage of potential clients who could benefit from a Dual Special Needs Plan.
If you have clients that are currently enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid programs, discuss the benefits of enrolling them in a D-SNP. There are a variety of D-SNPs available. Some are Health Maintenance Organizations programs and some are Preferred Provider Organizations programs. These plans vary by state and by insurance carrier, so it's important to research plans in your client's area thoroughly before enrolling them. Premiums, copayments, coinsurances, and deductibles also vary depending on the plan.
You can enroll clients during their Initial Enrollment Period, during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th - December 7th), during the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period (January 1 - March 31) or during a Special Enrollment period: January–March, April - June or July - September, if they have a qualifying event which allows them to do so. To learn more about the different enrollment periods, visit CMS.gov or Medicare.gov.
If you're looking to find potential D-SNP prospects, you're likely to find them in low income housing communities, senior centers, churches, and certain retirement communities. Volunteering at food banks, charity events and community centers is a good way to reach out and help those who may be eligible.
If you have questions about Dual Special Needs Plans or need help offering them, please reach out to us.
You may have heard the terms: Part B giveback, reduction or rebate. Do you know what that means or how it works for your clients?
The give-back benefit is another term for Part B premium reduction. This is when a Medicare Advantage plan reduces the amount your client pays towards their Part B monthly premium. These givebacks are offered by some Medicare Advantage plans and are designed to make plans even MORE affordable. The amount of the givebacks can range depending upon the plan and location. They can be as low as $20 and some plans offer more than $100 in giveback rebates.
How it Works:
If a beneficiary is on Social Security, the Part B premium comes out of their monthly benefit before it hits their bank account OR it's reflected in their monthly check. The giveback reduces their Part B premium, which means more money ends up in the individual’s bank account.
If your client pays their Part B premium directly (not by automatic Social Security check deduction), their Part B premium statement will be updated with the giveback amount credited to what they owe. The standard Part B premium for 2021 is $148.50. This amount changes yearly and is based on income. Learn more.
If a beneficiary's monthly Social Security check is normally $1600 and their giveback is $100, their Social Security benefit will now be $1700. If they pay the standard Part B premium ($148.50) the amount they will owe after receiving the giveback will be $48.50.
Part B givebacks can offer Medicare beneficiaries yet another way to save money by choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
To be eligible for this program your client must be responsible for paying their own Part B premium, which means they are NOT eligible to receive Medicaid or participate in a Medicare Savings Plan.
As always, it's important to make sure the Medicare Advantage plan fits your client's needs and budget. It's also crucial to make sure it includes access to the doctors and hospitals they need, as well as making sure their prescription drugs are on the plan’s formulary.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.